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New Jersey Abolishes Death Penalty

December 19, 2007  | 

Gov. Jon Corzine signed a bill this week to end capital punishment in New Jersey, making it the first state to repeal its capital punishment law since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed its reinstatement in 1976 after a four-year federal ban on the practice.

New Jersey last carried out an execution in 1963, although the state voted to reinstate the death penalty in 1982.

The eight men who had been on New Jersey's death row will now serve life without parole.

Corzine calls state executions "state-endorsed killing." But Richard Kanka disagrees. His seven-year-old daughter Megan was raped and murdered by one of the death row inmates whose sentence was commuted as part of the bill. Her death inspired the first Megan's law, which requires public registration of sex offenders.

"Just another slap in the face to the victims," Kanka said of the bill.

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